04 Dec 2005
Waiting in the Wings, Singing to Themselves
By ANNE MIDGETTE [NY Times, 4 December 2005]
IN 1941, Astrid Varnay, then 23, jumped in on a few hours' notice for an ailing Lotte Lehmann as Sieglinde in "Die Walküre" at the Metropolitan Opera; it was the start of a long and illustrious international career. In 1944, Regina Resnik, 22, was thrust onto the Met stage as Leonora in "Il Trovatore" when Zinka Milanov got sick; Ms. Resnik remained an operatic fixture for decades. In 2002, Salvatore Licitra, at 33, replaced Luciano Pavarotti at the 11th hour in a long-planned "Tosca" at the Met and gave patrons who had paid as much as $1,800 a ticket something to cheer about; Sony Classical rushed out a solo recording.